IMG_8707.jpg

Communication from the Director

26 August 2021

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Parents

 


Attached please find an Information Sheet on how VVIS is intending to open the school on 1st September, as well as the VVIS COVID Protocol, the focal point of which is aligned to the DGS (Direção-Geral de Saúde), the National Health Service (SNS) and EU guidelines regulating procedures to be adopted in order to maintain safety and health at schools.  All updates issued by these authorities and advice from the AEEP (Associação de Estabelecimentos de Ensino Particular) will be conveyed to parents from time to time.  

At the time of publishing the first VVIS Contingency Plan, there was as yet no specific vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, making preventive measures all the more difficult. Nevertheless, with the sterling efforts of the entire community, VVIS’ exceptional team managed to maintain the high standards of learning during difficult and challenging times. We emphasize that online learning will only resume if schools are mandated to close by the national authorities due to COVID outbreaks.


Since the last closure of schools, several vaccines have been approved, tested and administered, with more than 14 million vaccine doses administered in Portugal as at today’s date, half of which have received full vaccinations, representing 72.3% of the population. Because of the arrival of the new Delta variant which is more contagious than the COVID-19 virus, we intend to continue to follow the Laws and guidelines provided by the government by playing a role of responsibility in preventing, controlling and minimizing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and its variants. A more comprehensive Contingency Plan is available on the school’s website.  

The DGS have announced that they will be COVID testing Secondary School teachers and staff nationwide from 6 – 17  September, followed by testing of Secondary School pupils.   These tests may be repeated, depending on the number of positive cases.

As from 26 August, the school office will be open from 10:00 – 15:00 for purchases and payments. The first day of school will be Wednesday, 1st September, with Secondary School starting at 09:00 and Primary School starting at 09:15.  

Enjoy the last of your summer holidays!

Kind regards and stay safe and healthy,
 

DIRECTOR

HOW IS VVIS PREPARING TO OPEN on 1st SEPTEMBER 2021?

 

  • Contingency Plan in accordance with health and safety regulations

  • Safety posters and directional signs

  • Protection partitions between teacher and students who are less than 1.5m apart

  • Use of facemasks for everyone in Year 5 and above;  wear it before entering the school

  • Maintain the recommended physical distances, also when lining up

  • Remaining in bubbles in accordance with year groups

  • Disinfection and cleaning of classrooms and common areas on a daily basis

  • Almost 100% of teachers as well as some of our students have been vaccinated to help combat the new Delta variant

  • Protect yourself and those around you from possible spread of infection. If you have travelled or have been in close social contact with others, test yourselves 3 days before returning to school and inform the school of the results.   

DAILY PROTOCOL FOR STUDENTS

 

  • It would be helpful if you could take your temperature at home and stay at home if your temperature is 38 ° or above.   It may just be a sign of a common cold, but even so, it will avoid contagion and spread of colds and flu viruses

  • Daily temperature screening prior to entering classrooms every day will continue.  Times of screening stations:

  • Teachers and Secondary students are screened from 08:30 to 09:00

  • Primary students are screened from 08:45 to 09:15

  • Respect the seating layout and sanitize your work space before leaving a rotating classroom and at the end of day

  • Regularly wash your hands

  • Use hand sanitizing stations placed around the campus, especially after touching high contact surfaces; disinfectant gel is available in classrooms and bathrooms

  • Use the shoe sanitizing mats before entering the buildings in the morning

  • A Level students: Sign out at the office before leaving campus

  • Transport: students to retain seats allocated to them for the duration of the term

 

 

 

CLASSROOM ARRANGEMENTS

  • On the first day of school, wait in your year group prior to entering classrooms.

  • Year group bubbles will continue as before. This means that, with the exception of IT, Art, Music, PE and practical laboratory work, students will remain in a registration classroom while teachers will rotate

  • No sharing of equipment or stationery

  • Keep to the right on staircases and in corridors or follow the arrows where indicated

  • Ventilate classrooms by leaving windows open during mild and clement weather

  • Dining times will be staggered to allow social distancing;  Do not share water or food;  Keep your facemask in a zip-lock bag while eating, also during PE lessons.             

 

FOR PARENTS

  • If possible, do your uniform purchases and fee payments from Wednesday, 25th August  until Tuesday, 31st August from 10:00 to 15:00.  

  • The drop-off zone is for dropping off students.  Do not linger, avoid congestion.

  • Should you need to leave your vehicle for any reason, use a facemask.

  • Parents and visitors (by prior appointment) to use the side entrance of the main office.

  • Ensure that the school has your latest contact details and telephone number, in case we need to contact you during the day

 

WORKPLACE PLAN OF ACTION

 

A Workplace Plan of Action, aimed at preventing and controlling an outbreak of COVID-19 was circulated to the school community in 2020 has already been implemented and will be reinforced.  A copy is incorporated in the Contingency Plan on the website.

 

Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you show any COVID symptoms, or have had contact with anyone testing positive for COVID, you must stay at home, contact the appropriate medical authorities (SNS) and follow their advice and directions.

 

If you have a fever, dry cough, fatigue and have difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.  Other symptoms may include aches and pains, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhoea.

 

Thank you to our VVIS community for your patience and support during the past almost two years of rapidly changing times and challenging conditions. VVIS has always been a highly structured entity, but with the unpredictable behaviour of COVID-19, many plans had to be changed for the medium and longer term to ensure a balance of wellbeing whilst providing a rigorous ongoing learning environment.  

 

The general principles of prevention as well as the minimum requirements for the protection of the safety and health of staff and students against the risks of exposure to COVID-19 and its mutations, will remain in force. The SNS Health Authority is responsible for intervening in situations of serious risk to Public Health, monitoring the health of citizens, providing health services and determining, when necessary, corrective measures, including the interruption or suspension of activities or services and the closure of establishments. 

 

Bearing in mind the evolution of the epidemiological framework of COVID-19 and the current Delta variant, schools and the communities at large are dependent on the guidelines provided by SNS and the AEEP ((Associação de Estabelecimentos de Ensino Particular).

 

We rely on our parents, students and staff to continue to support these guidelines in order to manage the current situation effectively.

 

 

WHAT IS THE SITUATION WITH COVID-19 AT THE MOMENT?

The new Delta variant of Covid-19 appears to be the dominant strain circulating worldwide, including in Portugal.  It is reported to be more transmissible than the old strain, in other words it can be more easily spread.  At this stage there is no clear evidence of the new variant having the ability to cause more severe illness but more studies are being undertaken to establish if and how this new variant will change the course of the disease. What is known, is that coronaviruses naturally mutate and the management of the virus will remain the same.

HOW DOES THE NEW VARIANT OF COVID-19 AFFECT PORTUGAL?

Portuguese authorities are trying to bring under control the new wave of the more contagious Delta variant. Portugal's new daily case numbers have been rising steadily in recent weeks, returning to levels last seen in February when the country was under a strict lockdown trying to combat the coronavirus surge.

In a report, the National Health Institute said the Delta variant first identified in India represented around 86% of cases in Portugal as whole, with 100% of cases in Lisbon and the Algarve.  Cases started to gradually increase after Portugal opened its borders to visitors from the EU and Britain in mid-May. However, daily deaths remain below February levels with new cases primarily reported among younger, unvaccinated people.

With a population of 10 million people, the vaccination rollout in Portugal to administer vaccinations has increased, recording more than 14 million doses as at yesterday’s date. This represents 72.3% of the population.

In the meantime, it is important to note that the Delta mutation allows the virus to enter cells more easily, making it more transmissible than the older strain.  It is spread in the same way by droplets in the air and from contact with contaminated surfaces. Thus, the protocol implemented since the beginning of the pandemic will continue to be applied, i.e. wearing a mask, minimum required social distancing of 1.5 metres, frequent hand washing with soap and temperature gauging.  Also, contact sports will be avoided during PE and after school activities. The DGS have announced that they will be COVID testing Secondary School teachers and staff nationwide from 6 – 17  September, followed by testing of Secondary School pupils.  

VVIS COVID OFFICERS

Below is the list of COVID officers at VVIS:

  • Brendan de Beer 

  • Rui Rego 

  • Craig Neilson 

Stay safe and healthy!

Louise de Beer.jpg
IMG_8724.jpg

How is VVIS preparing to open

COVID-19 INFORMATION

photo Louise de Beer_edited.jpg